Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

I know many of you have been praying for our family the last few days and wondering how we are doing.  It's hard -- really hard.  Unless you've walked this path before, words can't explain how deep and raw and fresh the grief is.  It's like being on a roller coaster.  There are moments of calm and clarity -- God has given us those, especially when decisions are being made.  Then there are times when a memory or a picture or a blog comment can cause the waves of grief to hit us hard and strong.  We are resting in verses such as these:

Isaiah 40:28-31 

Do you not know? 

Have you not heard? 

The LORD is the everlasting God, 

the Creator of the ends of the earth. 

He will not grow tired or weary, 

and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary 

and increases the power of the weak.

but those who hope in the LORD 

will renew their strength. 

They will soar on wings like eagles; 

they will run and not grow weary, 

they will walk and not be faint.

Matthew 11:28-29 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.


I know you all are heartbroken along with us and may be wondering why God didn't answer the prayer that so many of us were begging him to answer:  Please heal Prentice!  

A few weeks ago after Prentice's sermon on intercessory prayer, an older lady from our congregation whose son had lost his battle with cancer approached Prentice.  She asked him if maybe she just hadn't prayed hard enough because He hadn't seemed to have heard her.  At lunch that day, I asked Prentice, "What did you say to her?"  I wish I could remember the conversation word for word and I know I won't do it justice, but he explained that while there may be more, he was aware of three ways in which God works his will:  personal, earthly, and eternal.  What might be our answer to a personal prayer does not exactly affect the earthly realm, such as "Please sell our house."  Then there are those prayers that may not seem like they've been answered personally, but their effect is in the earthly or eternal realm, like "Please heal Prentice."   Personally, we didn't get the answer we desired.  But we can already see the effect this has had in the earthly realm.  And who can even imagine the effect this is having in the eternal realm.  

God hurts with us, but His purpose right here, right now may have been bigger than our personal pain.  In one brief moment, anyone who has ever been affected or touched by Prentice is thinking about him right now.  Please use this for His glory.  As boldly as Prentice shared Jesus with all of us, let that fuel you to tell even one person about Him.  Use the story of Prentice as your icebreaker.  Do not linger in sadness but proclaim Jesus in his honor.  

Acts 4:29-31 

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.


We prayed, our house has been shaken.  So go out into this world, filled with the Holy Spirit, and speak His word boldly.  That's what Prentice would want.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

We hold you close to our hearts. You are so in our thoughts right now. May the God of all peace be with you and hold you ever so close to Himself.
We love you,
Barry and Diane

Anonymous said...

When I graduated from Sunset. I began ministry in Grand Prairie, Texas just about the same time Prentice arrived at Prestoncrest in Dallas. I was introduced to Prentice by the late Wesley D. Whitt. Wes said of Prentice, “I want you to meet a man of God, full of Grace.” Back in the early 80’s, grace was in short supply. There was plenty of legalism in the church and Joe Almanza needed alot of grace.

For about 20 years, Prentices’ Searcher’s class provided Christmas toys for 8 elementary schools in Grand Prairie ISD. The most enjoyable moment of knowing Prentice was his sermons. Very inspiring, solid food, very encouraging, very Bibical and I was like a sponge.

I once sought his counsel after a situation with some fellow Christian brothers. “Joe”, he said, “Haven’t you been through worse situations. Haven’t you been shot at, rejected and threatened? How can you allow a few church brothers to get you down.” Life changing words I always remember from a man full of God and grace.

Joe Almanza
jalmanza@highlandchurch.org
www.highlandchurch.org

Eileen said...

How comforting to stop by the blog this morning and see fresh thoughts posted. A special *spa-SEE-bo* to the Meador scribe who has spent part of Thanksgiving Day to encourage and update the rest of us.

The last several days, I've been wondering what Prentice would say to us if he were given the gift of one more sermon. What is it that has he seen, what is it that he has heard, what infathomable glories has he beheld since last he was with us. And of course, through the gift of God's grace, one day each of us will know that for ourselves. . .

I can hear Prentice's voice nearly booming quoting the verse you posted, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the Everlasting God. . ."

Saturday afternoon as you gather in Nashville to celebrate the gift of Prentice, I hope to join you from here in Kiev, Ukraine as part of the larger internet audience. That will be Saturday evening here and I wouldn't dream of missing it.

But if I were there in Nashville, I would be so honored to help behind the scenes if you'd allow - pressing clothes for the service, polishing shoes, washing and gassing up cars, helping organize all those plates and platters and leftovers from food that folks so kindly contributed. I'd be honored to house-sit during the Saturday service and answer the phone and just help out. But since that's impossible, I'll pray that you be granted such peace and strength that will buoy you up through the days and weeks ahead.

Again, thanks the wonderful communication through this site.

Anonymous said...

From the Central Church of Christ in Haines City, Florida.

My sympathies on your loss.

-Jason Goldtrap

Anonymous said...

We are so sorry to hear of Prentice's death. We had the blessing of his preaching for 14 years at South National. He was truly an inspiration. We know that Johnny and Marie will be truly saddened by this news also. They always loved Prentice and enjoyed his visits. They have not entered the computer age so we will print and share the blog information with them. Your family will be in our prayers. Draw comfort in knowing that Heaven is rejoicing with the addition of a truly great Christian who blessed many during his time on earth with his knowledge of God's word and ability to communicate it to us. Sincerely, John and Nancy Cox (son and daughter-in-law of John and Marie Cox)

Anonymous said...

What a gift God gave him for teaching. I am grateful for the insight I gain from his sermons and classes at Prestoncrest. My faith is richer and deeper because he came into my life. I keep thinking back to something Prentice said one Sunday morning when he was talking about the death of his father and the hard decisions that were made... That if given one second his dad wouldn't come back to this world for anything. That they are now living in the presence of God. What a life well lived.

Stephen Roussos said...

Prentice was a great inspirer to me. He was a preacher, mentor and friend of mine. There was a time when Prentice, Bob Chisum and I would go have lunch weekly, and this is where I got to know him on a more personal level. Prentice never hid his feeling anyways and acted upon them, but here we would be in fellowship, discussing the issues of our world that concerned us.

I have so much to thank Prentice for. Most of all, was how he believed in me and made sure that I would stay determined to go to grad school. Now I am Texas Tech's new Zoology grad student and I wish I could tell him myself. He was a great example to all of us Christian men who are trying our best to live by the Word. Peace be with the family.